Removing critical failure and success of disjunction?

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Hiliadan

Major
Jun 17, 2018
608
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I'm opening a thread about this topic, in continuation of the old forum's thread: https://aow.triumph.net/forums/topic/remove-critical-success-and-critical-failure-from-the-game because some players are asking for the removal of critical failure & success for disjunction.

As a reminder, each time you try to disjunct a battle enchantment or strategic spell, there is a 5% chance of critical success or failure. If you succeed, your opponent pays the consequences, if you fail, you do. The consequences are: CP drained, damage and stunned for 2 turns on the tactical map.

Could anyone make a summary of the arguments in favour and against removing critical disjunction made in the old post please?
And are there options on top of just removing (or reducing the chances of) critical disjunction? Like removing the stunning or draining only x% of CP or y% of HP?
 

Rodmar18

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Will do, although it starts as a Sorcerer-focused single-player "rant". I just hope that those who don't like being punished at random when they frolick among their troops while being full of mana and CP, are not the same who miss the old Mage Tower from the other games!

37 voices in 5 days, 1 voice 3 years later; 15 for removing crits or changing the mechanic, 19 for not removing crits, 4 with no real concern.
As said, the topic extinguished in less than a week, but sure, a lot was said.


Initial request: remove critical success and critical failure in Disjunct mechanic.


Pro arguments:

  1. Complete mana drain is battle turning, and even impacts on strategic map.
  2. Real strategy shouldn't depend that much on luck.
  3. Criticals need removal or change only for battlefield enchantment, not for global spells.
  4. Criticals are unforgiving for classes that depend heavily on mana, such as Sorcerer + Age of Magic.
  5. Critical success is more an issue because its effects are imposed on you by the enemy, and don't depend on your decision.
  6. Increasing CP cost only on failure, and more so on critical failure, would be enough to lower chances of spamming Disjunct in a row.
  7. This simple spell can be a case of loosing the whole game. Maybe a critical should make you unable to cast a spell the next round in tactical combat, and that's all.
  8. Chance adds an interresting uncertainty, but it detracts from strategy and tactics when it becomes too prevalent or too strong a factor. Thus, Disjunct being chance based is a thing, but criticals going a step beyond that and deciding entire battles are another thing;
  9. Criticals are too strong for a single dice roll, not only in battle but also on the strategic level, and their effects should be lowered.
  10. This is not balanced that Sorcerers get at min 5% of being screwed each round the enemy has the CP to cast Disjunct, because Sorcerers rely on spells more than others.
  11. There should not be anything I can't deal with in order to win, even when the enemy attacks me.
  12. Although it sounds good on paper, current mechanic allows to abuse AI, and the end game is totally ruined by it in SP: just have high level heroes cast enchantments to bait the AI, and wait for a critical failure, or else watch them waste their CP in successive tries.
  13. Change criticals at the extreme for mitigated results in the middle, so as to smooth the curve of consequences: success (spell disjuncted), mitigated success (spell disjuncted but attacker takes damage and loose CP), mitigated failure (spell not disjuncted and attacker? takes damage and loose CP), failure (spell not disjuncted) (or is 'mitigated failure' a critical failure?).
  14. Critical success should be nerfed though. Trying to disjunct an enemy good spell should comes at a higher risk, not a chance to impair the enemy. It could be either removed or replaced with a small bonus for the attacker (regain some CP and mana spent). Critical failure is only 5 % chance but the punishment is very harsh and a middle ground could be reached, like doubled mana and CP cost, and if you can’t pay, then your are physically punished (1 round stunned, plus all CP loss).

Con arguments:

  1. Critical success/failure keeps things unpredictable.
  2. Anything that favors Disjunct spam is not fun.
  3. Having to resort to Disjunct is already bad premise anyway.
  4. Criticals are required to keep the "balance of terror": critical success may lead the party with more CP to refrain from spamming spells almost carelessly, while critical failure may encourage the party with less CP to dare casting a costly spell that won't be 100% disjuncted in two tries by whoever have the CP to spend.
  5. Criticals add a strategic element together with the natural failure chance, making it not always an obvious chance.
  6. Leaders should refrain from casting Disjunct when on the battlefield, except if they cannot do otherwise.
  7. Factoring into randomness and extreme scenarios can also be part of overall strategy approach to the game, and even a random factor may be balanced out.
  8. Against any change which leads to 100 % predictabiliyty.
  9. How randomness around morale is not game breaking, and randomness about Disjunct is?
  10. All these random factors increase the level of thinking required for players to do at normal difficulty and beyond.
  11. Strategy is precisely about planning waht to do economical and tactical, given a degree of uncertainty. When criticals hurt this strong, is when the player's entire strategy has been bad or conducted with little care.
  12. Being frustrated by a mechanic is not the same as not accepting the negative consequences.
  13. Don't forget that casting Disjunct is already a waste in CP, and one round less without spell on the field. Forcing someone to disjunct is already gaining the edge (the same as for Dispel Enchantment), and having to disjunct an enemy spell is already admitting that the fight doesn't go well.
  14. Random chance makes things much more interesting, such as when new opportunities unveil all of a sudden on the strategic map thanks to a critical.
  15. It’s also good that magic is inherently risky compared to just cranking out units.
  16. Cosmic events come with the same concept: they both lead to abstract uncontrollable factors wich your strategy MUST take into account in order to be successful.
  17. There should be a backfire in case of failure anyway, otherwise it would just be: Disjunct until I succeed.
  18. Reevaluate your strategy if loosing battle because of Disjunct makes you loose the game.
  19. Spells should augment an already strong strategy, not be the only strategy.
  20. This mechanic is balanced, and useful precisely so that Sorcerers don't become OP in late game if they are played carelessly.
  21. Putting a leader on the field with a single doom stack is bad strategy anyway, and three stacks would warrant that Disjunct has no dire consequence, late game.
  22. Since we play games, rolling a 1 on a 20-side dice has always been both unlikely and dreadful.
  23. Battles shouldn't be engaged (both offensively and defensively) if you haven't the numbers for you, and yet you really need to win it. If not, accept the drawbacks of not being at force advantage, including a possible defeat caused by the Disjunct mechanic (when your leader cannot support engaged troops anymore).

Further proposals and considerations:

  1. Remove the whole randomness: Disjunct should automatically remove lower tier spells, and Greater Disjunct should automatically remove higher tier spells.
  2. Disjunct should just remove spell integrity, effectively reducing their duration, as spells should loose integrity each turn, anyway.
  3. Although I'm fine with criticals, the 2-round stunning is huge, particularly in late game, when the leader is worth more than 2 powerful units.
  4. Make a compromise by enabling/disabling All Crits in game settings, and replace higher/lower morale by a damage buff/nerf if disabled.
  5. Also address the good/bad morale criticals, and replace them with a flat damage penalty/buff.
  6. In contrast, the game absolutely needs other forms of randomness (lucky, good/bad morale, loot results, ...).
It's a summary or excerpt of each post, more or less; it will then be simpler to actually sort arguments by topic and range.
 
Last edited:

El_Lobo1986

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Obviously there are arguments for and against removing critical success/failure. I don't like the critical thing so here are some thoughts...

  1. Critical success/failure keeps things unpredictable. --> If you want a luck-based game play the lottery.
  2. Anything that favors Disjunct spam is not fun. --> There is no problem with disjuct spam. Disjuncting is more expensive than casting and the option to fail is annoying enough.
  3. Having to resort to Disjunct is already bad premise anyway. --> Some classes don't have strong spells and/or don't need much mana. Relying on disjunction is part of a strategy and not a resort!
  4. Criticals are required to keep the "balance of terror": critical success may lead the party with more CP to refrain from spamming spells almost carelessly, while critical failure may encourage the party with less CP to dare casting a costly spell that won't be 100% disjuncted in two tries by whoever have the CP to spend. --> Weird thoughts. If I have much more CP than my opponent than I am spamming spells or untis, right. There is no risk having a critical failure while casting because it only occurs when disjuncting. So obviously when I have a lot more CP than my opponent I won't take the risk of a critical failure and will keep spamming spells and units.
  5. Criticals add a strategic element together with the natural failure chance, making it not always an obvious chance. --> What is strategic about criticals? In big battles against human players you can't even control it and AI loves to disjunct spells...
  6. Leaders should refrain from casting Disjunct when on the battlefield, except if they cannot do otherwise. --> As I wrote before it can be part of the strategy.
  7. Factoring into randomness and extreme scenarios can also be part of overall strategy approach to the game, and even a random factor may be balanced out. --> That's the first senseful argument for keeping it as it is.
  8. Against any change which leads to 100 % predictabiliyty. --> This game is far away from beeing 100% predictable and the chance of having a "normal" failure should remain.
  9. How randomness around morale is not game breaking, and randomness about Disjunct is? --> Weird comparison because the mechanics are completely different. Morale has 7 levels (-600, -400, -200, neutral, +200, +400, +600) and can be controlled by the player.
  10. All these random factors increase the level of thinking required for players to do at normal difficulty and beyond. --> No, it just increases the value of beeing lucky or not. See explanation for 1.
  11. Strategy is precisely about planning what to do economical and tactical, given a degree of uncertainty. When criticals hurt this strong, is when the player's entire strategy has been bad or conducted with little care. --> As I wrote before disjuncting can be part of the strategy AND in auto-combats against human players you can't even control if AI casts/disjuncts or not. Btw, is it moddable to add the button "Don't cast spells." like in auto-combats against AI?
  12. Being frustrated by a mechanic is not the same as not accepting the negative consequences. -->If a skill-based game can be ruined by a thing you can't control properly it has nothing to do with frustration about a mechanic. See explanation for 1. and 11.
  13. Don't forget that casting Disjunct is already a waste in CP, and one round less without spell on the field. Forcing someone to disjunct is already gaining the edge (the same as for Dispel Enchantment), and having to disjunct an enemy spell is already admitting that the fight doesn't go well. --> No again, it can be part of the strategy. And if disjuncting is a waste of CP than critical failure is a double punishment. So one more argument for removing it.
  14. Random chance makes things much more interesting, such as when new opportunities unveil all of a sudden on the strategic map thanks to a critical. --> See explanation for 1.
  15. It’s also good that magic is inherently risky compared to just cranking out units. --> That's a point but isn't this game called Age of Wonders? Maybe we should rename it to Age of where Magic sucks...
  16. Cosmic events come with the same concept: they both lead to abstract uncontrollable factors wich your strategy MUST take into account in order to be successful. --> Different mechanics. If a cosmic event breaks your strategy you can retreat for 4 turns and avoid battles. If you leader is stunned in due to critical failure you can't do anything.
  17. There should be a backfire in case of failure anyway, otherwise it would just be: Disjunct until I succeed. --> I don't see a problem there. Disjuncting costs more CP and the chance of a failure is an advantage for the enemy. I played a lot of games and havn't seen any casting-disjuncting-casting-action...
  18. Reevaluate your strategy if loosing battle because of Disjunct makes you loose the game. --> What should I say...
  19. Spells should augment an already strong strategy, not be the only strategy. --> Totally agree and disjunting should nerf a strategy and not make it unplayable. Critical failure or success can break the game in both directions.
  20. This mechanic is balanced, and useful precisely so that Sorcerers don't become OP in late game if they are played carelessly. --> Sorcerers are OP in late game? I don't think so.
  21. Putting a leader on the field with a single doom stack is bad strategy anyway, and three stacks would warrant that Disjunct has no dire consequence, late game.
  22. Since we play games, rolling a 1 on a 20-side dice has always been both unlikely and dreadful. --> That's a point but it's not just about the 5% chance it's about your CP got drained, your ledaers got hurt AND you move (disjuncting) failed. It's just too much even for a 5% chance.
  23. Battles shouldn't be engaged (both offensively and defensively) if you haven't the numbers for you, and yet you really need to win it. If not, accept the drawbacks of not being at force advantage, including a possible defeat caused by the Disjunct mechanic (when your leader cannot support engaged troops anymore). --> Already enough said about similar arguments. Disjunction failure already hurts but the other drawbacks are too much.
 
Last edited:

Hiliadan

Major
Jun 17, 2018
608
4
I tend to agree with your analysis El Lobo, the argument against removing Critical disjunct are pretty weak.

I think it might be possible to mod the removal of the "stunned" (impossible to move) part of the Critical disjunct. Might be progress, but I think I'm now in favour of removing Critical disjunct entirely (BTW my opponent in the tournament game got a Critical disjunct just before surrendering, it didn't really make a big difference because he was losing anyway and had no mana and CP left, but still if he had been less at a disadvantage, it could have meant a lot being unable to move).
 

Rodmar18

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I'm glade that this summary is faithful enough to allow for a new brainstorming, but be fair enough and recognize that one sentence sometimes summarizes a whole post!

Anyways, I think that you guys have now two options: either
  • Remove critical Disjunct or even both criticals; or
  • Think about how each critical may harm or hinder MP game, and the resulting modifications that may be done to the Disjunct mechanic, even up to the point of designing a new mechanic.
Other said, should Disjunct have a prohibitive cost in CP? Should have chained Disjunct be even more costly? OR should Disjunct be limited to 1 per battle?
Should Disjunct have offensive capacities as when a critical success, or only do the job, at best?
Should Disjunct (and triffling with others' magic) be at a risk of a backfire, and not only at a cost?



Also, I read some arguments a bit differently:
  • Criticals are required to keep the "balance of terror": critical success may lead the party with more CP to refrain from spamming spells almost carelessly, while critical failure may encourage the party with less CP to dare casting a costly spell that won't be 100% disjuncted in two tries by whoever have the CP to spend. --> Weird thoughts. If I have much more CP than my opponent than I am spamming spells or untis, right. There is no risk having a critical failure while casting because it only occurs when disjuncting. So obviously when I have a lot more CP than my opponent I won't take the risk of a critical failure and will keep spamming spells and units.
===> Perhaps I forgot to add this argument I read in a post: "Don't play with players who abuse game mechanics, because you can't win against abused random mechanics". Poster meant that suffering from spammed Disjunct (and subsequent criticals) was a strong hint that the adversary was not a "fair" player, nor a player to play with at all. "Balance of terror" would be there to ward off against such players. If a "fair" player only uses Disjunct from time to time, when in dire need, and thus doesn't take the risk of a critical (both way) each time the adversary cast a spell, then the issue of overpowered criticals is moot, perhaps.
  • Cosmic events come with the same concept: they both lead to abstract uncontrollable factors wich your strategy MUST take into account in order to be successful. --> Different mechanics. If a cosmic event breaks your strategy you can retreat for 4 turns and avoid battles. If you leader is stunned in due to critical failure you can't do anything.
===> ... if your leader is stunned, you do retreat into the void for 3 turns and avoid battles. ;)
  • There should be a backfire in case of failure anyway, otherwise it would just be: Disjunct until I succeed. --> I don't see a problem there. Disjuncting costs more CP and the chance of a failure is an advantage for the enemy. I played a lot of games and havn't seen any casting-disjuncting-casting-action...
===> against the AI in SP, it happens anytimes I or the AI cast a battlefield enchantment: casting-disjuncting-casting again-disjuncting again... until either I stop or the AI exhausted its CPs.
  • This mechanic is balanced, and useful precisely so that Sorcerers don't become OP in late game if they are played carelessly. --> Sorcerers are OP in late game? I don't think so.
===> As I understand, poster said that Sorcerers _without_ critical Disjunct would become OP in late game, while they are not with current Disjunct.

Also, @Hiliadan , in case you didn't read:

  • Btw, is it moddable to add the button "Don't cast spells." [in auto-combats against humans] like in auto-combats against AI?